- Advertisement -
    - Advertisement -
    - Advertisement -
    HomeCulture‘The Ending Will Shock You…’ My Life as a Dhar Mann Actor

    ‘The Ending Will Shock You…’ My Life as a Dhar Mann Actor

    Actors for Dhar Mann Studios, a social media empire with 17.8M subscribers on YouTube  are speaking out against unfair treatment and demanding better pay. Actor, writer, producer, and longtime West Hollywood resident, Michael Viccaro, shares his story.


    It was sometime early in 2020, right around the beginning of the pandemic. I booked a
    job acting in some YouTube video. The location was in a park, way south of downtown
    LA, and I remember it was a giant pain-in-the-ass to get there because my car had
    died. I had to get on a bus, and wear five different masks and stay as far away from
    people on the bus as possible. I arrived on time, 40 minutes before the crew. The
    “crew” was a guy with a camera, I think there was maybe a guy with a boom mic, and
    there was a production assistant.

    The scene was very easy. I was playing a total asshole I was sitting in a park, and
    some woman with a baby sat down next to me on the bench, and the baby starts to
    cry. I said a couple of lines, I don’t remember what they were, but it was
    something like, “Hey, shut that baby up! You’re ruining my quiet time!” We shot it two
    or three times, and then it was done. I got paid for the hour, I think it was $33.
    Remember, it was the beginning of the pandemic, and no one knew if we’d ever work
    again, so I was desperate. That was it. I got my ass on a bus, making myself as small
    as possible, trying not to breathe, and I went home to my apartment in West
    Hollywood. I had no idea who these people were, or what they were going to use it for,
    and I didn’t care.

    At some point later, I got a call to come back and play another role. Another asshole. I
    was to find out that playing an asshole was going to be my thing at “Dhar Mann,” a
    popular YouTube channel that, of course, I’d never heard of. I didn’t even know there
    was such a thing as a popular YouTube channel. I mean, who sits and watches videos
    on YouTube? Well, apparently, many people. Thousands, no, millions of people, and
    during the pandemic, this number would grow and grow.

    This time we shot in an apartment in downtown LA, and apparently the apartment
    belonged to someone named Dhar Mann (oh, ok, Dhar Mann is a person—Got it). I was
    playing an obnoxious owner of a modeling agency who shamed some models for
    being overweight. The dialogue was kind of cringey, and I felt dirty having to say all
    these horrible things to these absolutely beautiful, large women. But in the end, my
    character gets his comeuppance. He loses his big account, or something like that, I
    don’t know.

    By this point, there were a few more people involved. The same director, but somebody
    new was shadowing him, and a sound person, and I think maybe someone was doing
    some lighting, and there was an editor, who sat at a dining room table and edited while
    we shot. Oh, it’s moving up in the world, I see. Cool. Good for them. And it was fun. I
    met some really cool people. The money was OK, especially during a pandemic, and it
    got me out of the house.

    More and more videos came, always the same old, white asshole. An old white asshole
    CEO, an old white asshole casting director, music producer, lawyer, doctor, etc.,
    always shaming people. Always getting his comeuppance, and always right after
    someone has explained themselves, told their back story, which always ended with the
    phrase, “So, you see…” “So, you see, THIS is why I’m overweight.” “So, you see, this
    is why I’m so thin.” “So, you see, this is why I’m trying to be an actress at the age of
    65…” All morality based, the idea being, let’s all be kind to one another, treat
    everybody with respect, care about the well-being of others. This was all to become
    very ironic, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I grew up in the ‘70s, so it was like
    being in an ABC Afterschool Special. I felt like Eve Plumb.

    After many videos shot in the downtown LA apartment, the big news was that Dhar
    Mann now had a huge warehouse in Burbank, and was turning it into soundstages.
    There were now two different directors, and they each had a crew. The channel was
    doing really well. One video I’d done, where I played an asshole CEO who harasses a
    homeless man in a pizzeria, had something like 20,000,000 views! What?! I think that’s
    when I got an $11 an hour raise, and became one of the actors who got called in pretty

    Somewhere around this time, early on in the new Burbank studio, I finally met Dhar. All
    this time, we’d never met, but when he bumped into me at the studio that day, he
    assumed that we’d already met. Because he’d seen me in so many of his own videos?
    Because I’d become one of his more popular actors? And, when I was out in the street,
    I started getting recognized—”Hey, you’re the old, white asshole from Dhar Mann.” I
    was in Vegas for a premiere of a film that I was in, and I got recognized in a Vietnamese
    restaurant. I’m not going to lie. It was hilarious and fun. What actor doesn’t enjoy

    In June of 2021, a video entitled “Passenger Shamed on Airplane, What Happens is
    Shocking,” in which I play an old, white asshole who shames a man with Down
    Syndrome on a plane, was re-posted by the Academy-Award winning actress, Viola
    Davis, and things really went crazy. By the end of 2021, Dhar had done a full-length
    feature film, and there was a premiere at a theater in West LA, and since I was now one
    of the more popular actors, I was invited to attend. Dhar was doing really well. I rarely,
    if ever, saw him. It seemed that he was away quite a bit. And when he was around, he,
    and his main director, would pull up in their very expensive sports cars. There were
    more crew members, and the studio was pumping out videos much more frequently,
    they might’ve been up to four a week by this point, each one garnering millions and
    millions of views, which of course, translates into millions and millions of dollars.

    Due to this great success, a few of the OG actors started feeling like they should get a
    raise, which hadn’t happened in over a year of stunning growth. This is where the
    drama begins. The actors who asked for more money, well, they mysteriously
    disappeared. They were just never asked back. No matter how popular. Just gone.
    There were now more channels, not just for his videos. There was a Dhar and Laura
    channel, which apparently followed Dhar and his girlfriend, Laura, like a reality show.

    There was a Reaction channel, where we were asked to react to our own cringey

    And there was a Behind-The-Scenes channel. While I was shooting a regular
    video, playing an old, white asshole, at the same time, I was asked to do behind-the-scenes interviews, and these interviews were edited into videos and put on the new channel, and they, too, seemed to garner millions of views. But for these videos, we were not paid. Word got around, if you ask for money, you’ll disappear.

    The atmosphere changed. There was now a pall over the place, a culture of fear. Don’t
    ask for more money. You’ll disappear. Don’t ask for a hot, healthy lunch. That’s crazy.
    The studio is freezing? Shut up about it! Your suit, which you were asked to bring in for
    a shoot, was damaged, and you need to repair it? Sorry. You’re shooting long hours,
    and you don’t have a long enough turnaround? I don’t know what you’re talking about!
    And the kids on set… they don’t seem to have tutors. That’s none of your business!

    As things got more and more uncomfortable, I tried to keep my cool. This is just a job.
    Just do your work, and go home. But, Dhar is buying Justin Bieber’s old house in
    Calabasas, and some days I’m only making $88 a day. I’ve been here for over two
    years now, certainly Dhar understands that this situation is not really fair. You want to
    keep your job? Shut the hell up!

    This continued until what I’m calling The Christmas Incident: December 2022. A Dhar
    Mann Christmas movie. I’m in it, and I’m invited to a premiere screening at a giant
    theater in Hollywood. It’s a fan event! Which means, I guess, that fans are buying
    tickets. OK. I’m told there’s a section of the theater for the actors in the film. OK. When
    I arrived, I realized what was happening. Yes, it was a “fan event,” which meant that the
    fans were there, with us, and they wanted pictures. They wanted autographs. They
    wanted to chat. Like an autograph show. Like a “Con.” And, I wasn’t getting paid. Dhar
    was getting paid. All the fans paid him $100 a ticket (at least that’s what I was told), but
    I was not getting paid. I guess it could be said that I didn’t have to do any of this. I
    could have sat in my seat, and told the kids asking for autographs to fuck right off, but
    then I would have been a real old, white asshole. The whole night left such a bad taste
    in my mouth. I couldn’t suck it up this time, I felt really played. And a bunch of other
    actors did, as well. This is where the seed was planted.

    We figured we’d just have a sit down with Dhar and clear some things up:

    • If there’s a fan event in the future, we’d like to be paid for it.
    • You’re making millions of dollars off of our videos, and people seem to be watching them because they like us, so we’d like to get residuals, or some kind of buy out.
    • When you contact us about a job, and ask us to keep five days open, we say yes, and turn down other work because we’ve committed to you. But then, when it turns out that you’re only using us for one of those days, we’d like to get paid for those five days, because I can’t afford to lose work. That seems only fair.
    • We’d like a day rate, instead of getting paid hourly. If I only have two lines in a scene, that means I’m working maybe an hour or two, which doesn’t add up to much, unfortunately, especially since I’ve booked out for five days. Let’s say I work two of those days, two hours each day. That’s $176… for an entire five days. That is unsustainable.
    • And, I’d like to be able to read the script before I sign the contract, so I know what I’m committing to.

    (L-R) Chas Laughlin Mair Mulroney Dylan J. Harris Colin A Borden and Michael Viccaro – Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

    Pretty simple stuff, I thought, and we were going into it with a positive attitude,
    perfectly willing to negotiate. But the meeting was not to be. Dhar was very busy
    skiing in Aspen. A couple other people showed up in his place, but we felt it was
    important to speak with Dhar himself. He makes all the decisions, that’s what we were
    told since day one. And for me, even though we’d be talking business, I felt like this
    was a personal matter for us. Dhar and I were not friends in the sense that we hung out
    and had dinner together, but we were friendly enough, and I’d worked there long
    enough to feel like I was definitely a part of what was called the Dhar Mann Fam. So a
    meeting with him personally didn’t feel unreasonable. I’d even thought that maybe it
    could happen over lunch. You know, friendly-like.

    A few days later, we were told a meeting would not happen, and we could put our
    concerns down on paper. It just felt so cold. So careless. To use one of Dhar’s favorite
    words, it was shocking, as in, “…The Ending Is Shocking.” We were also offered the
    opportunity to give our concerns anonymously in a suggestion box. A suggestion box, I
    might add, that has a camera right next to it, filming everything—that’s not going to work.

    Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES
    Photo by Mike Pingel for WEHO TIMES

    Maybe the only way to get Dhar’s attention now is to protest. Which we did. On
    Monday, February 6th, we held a picket line outside the studio. We were there
    approximately three hours. We were within our legal rights to do it. We didn’t break any
    laws. We didn’t damage any property. We came back Tuesday, which is when the cops
    were called, and I received the email saying that I was “no longer needed” there. That
    was it. My time at Dhar Mann Studios was over.

    Retaliation was swift. Threats of law suits, cease and desist letters, defamation of
    character on social media, and the ire of former co-workers who decided to side with
    Dhar. It seems people will defend their oppressors. This was a good lesson for me.
    As we move forward, there are some important ways that we can change the system.

    Unionizing social media actors, legislative intervention, and an update to platform
    guidelines from Youtube, Facebook, etc. are just a start. Stay tuned. The Ending Will
    Shock You!

    4.3 46 votes
    Article Rating
    Michael Vaccaro
    Michael Vaccaro
    Michael Vaccaro is an actor/writer/producer/director/print model and singer. Michael grew up in New York City, and began working as a child actor. His film work includes “Deleted Scenes," “The Endless Possibility of Sky," "You Can't Stay Here," “A Play On Words," "The Other Side of Infinity," “Look Back,” “The True Blue Ripper,” & "Eat Your Heart Out." His TV work includes “Bronx: SIU,”(Amazon Prime) “No Brainer”(Netflix), “The Middle Ages,” and five seasons of “Child of the ‘70s.” He is a graduate of the Second City Improv Conservatory. Follow him at @MichaelVaccaro www.Instagram.com/MichaelVaccaro


    Notify of
    11 Comments: We Want to Hear from You!
    oldest most voted
    Inline Feedbacks
    View all comments

    5 days ago

    Hi everyone Jay get him give not your loss best friend trying for you himself is a so bad news yet about bad person about he before him come back College 2 years ago I am work go I am Job searching the next few weeks to see you and your team

    Gabrielle Seunagal
    Gabrielle Seunagal
    24 days ago

    This is an amazing article from one of the Good Werks Productions actors who was formerly with Dhar Mann Studios. This explains why #ProtestDharMann happened and why so many of his veteran actors protested and then left to start their own show.

    If you’re still saying “but why did they take the job if they didn’t like the pay,” you’re either ignorant due to a lack of researching this situation or willfully obtuse.

    25 days ago

    No one is forcing these actors to work on Dharmann. If they don’t like the pay they should not work for the channel. It is a simple as that. If Dharmann is so successful and rich it is because he worked hard and came up with a brilliant idea and became successful. $33.00 an hour is darn good pay for being nonunion. I know plenty of nonunion productions that pay $125 for the entire day. This guy sounds like an angry bitter actor. If he is so mad why did he take the job to begin with?

    Reply to  Tia
    19 days ago

    There is more to this story with the other actors, just search it up on YouTube

    Barbara Riddle
    Barbara Riddle
    29 days ago

    A good business man should share the profits with the people who made him successful! Dhar needs to do a video about that so he can see the people who are most loyal deserves an additional hand up.

    Hayley S
    Hayley S
    1 month ago

    This is so sad but I’m not entirely surprised. Dhar Mann and his wife are constantly posting photos and videos of their extravagant lifestyle but at the same time, they are making videos like ‘Don’t Always Believe What You See On Social Media.’ Pitiful. I feel for you, Michael.

    1 month ago

    That’s infuriating!!!! and somehow I believe is true!!! i hope his channel and other social media end!

    1 month ago

    That’s sad

    Last edited 1 month ago by MR IM GAY
    Angry Gay Pope
    Angry Gay Pope
    1 month ago

    Good lord they are even worse than Disney!

    So You Saw
    So You Saw
    1 month ago

    I’m a former employee at the company, and I can honestly say that not only is this all accurate but also just the tip of the iceberg. This company has extremely shady business practice.

    Lucas o
    Lucas o
    1 month ago

    I will Never trust or watch fraud mann again!

    - Advertisment -

    Recent Comments On WEHO TIMES

    Latest Articles

    Would love your thoughts, please comment.x